All Because of Chickens

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday Morning Musings: Ouch that hurt…me more than the character?

Happy Saturday,

Our blog here is for middle grade, tweens, teens, YA, and even New YA, so what's better than a question from a teen? Today's comes from my fifteen year old and future film maker:

What are your feelings when killing a character off...villain or otherwise.

I don't have any sympathy with the villains in my stories, so it seems appropriate when they suffer! However, I know that the other characters will triumph eventually, so I don't worry too much when they are challenged or experience problems.

I find it hard to put my characters through pain. Just like with my kids I don’t like to see them in pain. Life is full of pain and problems. We learn and grow from those experiences. If your characters don’t have conflict, problems, and pain, they don’t grow. If there is no conflict, there is no story.

I think the expression, “I feel your pain,” sums up my reaction to the trauma my characters face. In my first novel, Search for the Red Ghost, my protagonist, Jake, went through a tremendous amount of emotional and physical pain. His mother died. He thought his father blamed him for her death. A mountain lion killed his horse, and his desire for revenge drove him alone into the desert. I put this thirteen-year-old grief-stricken boy through severe hunger, thirst, and fear, and I felt every moment of his pain.

Several studies have analyzed the effect of one person’s pain on another, and have concluded that pain can be transferrable. It doesn’t matter if you see it yourself, hear about it, or even read about it. Pain creates an intense emotion that can be felt by someone else. I find that enlightening because it means I am not as crazy as I thought I was. Whew!

Graham Greene, an English novelist, said, “Pain is easy to write.” That may be true for some, but it is not true for me. I want my reader to feel the challenges and the struggles that my characters go through, and that includes their pain. For me, as the writer, that means I must feel it too. If I don’t, then how am I going to make the reader believe? Why do I do it? The simple answer is that I am the writer, and my characters take me along for their ride wherever it may lead as long as I agree to bring their story to life in all its glory and pain

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

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